U.S. Rep. Tom Price of Roswell, so far, is the Republican who has been granted the most time in the House debate over health care:
“I recognized that there were more folks in Washington who affected what I could do for and with my patients than anybody I ever met in residency or medical school – and that was wrong. Health care, taking care of people is a moral endeavor and should be grounded in principle.
“And if the principles that we hold dear for health care are applied to this debate and this bill, the picture is not pretty. Accessibility – being able to receive care. Affordability – being able to afford care. Quality – receiving the best care available. Responsiveness – having a system that works for patients. And innovation – being certain that we have the newest and the best treatments and choices. Patients being able to choose their physicians and how and where they are treated. All of these are harmed by this bill. All of these principles are violated.
“None of these principles are improved by the further intervention of the federal government. So you see, Mr. Speaker, mostly this is bad for patients, for all Americans. The trust that is necessary between care-giver and care-receiver, between patients and their doctors, to believe that your health is not being undermined by the system, will be permanently eroded, permanently damaged….”
In his one minute of time on Sunday, U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Atlanta) evoked the Civil Rights movement with this language:
“This may be the most important vote that we cast as members of this body. We have a moral obligation today, tonight, to make health care a right, and not a privilege. There are those who have told us to start over. There are those who have told us to wait. They have told us to be patient. We cannot wait. We cannot be patient.
“The American people need health care, and they need it now. On this day, and this hour, stand with the American people and not with the big insurance companies. On this day and this moment, in this chamber, answer the call of history. Answer the spirit of history, and pass health care. Yield to the American people a victory. Yield health care a chance.”
We confess that, while transcribing this, we missed U.S. Rep. John Linder’s short address. A Republican in Gwinnett County, Jon Richards, caught it for us:
“I feel rude trying to inject some facts into this kabuki theater, but I am going to try. Eighty-five percent of Americans [are] insured. Ninety-five percent of those people are happy with their insurance.
“Of the other 15 percent uninsured, they consume 70 percent on average as much insurance as those who are insured. That lady in Cleveland that has been referred to ad nauseum is being cared for at the Cleveland Clinic.
“”So what are we to do about the 15 percent? Why take over 16 percent of the economy? A two-and-a-half trillion program that will destroy health care for the 85 percent who are happy, to provide health care for the 15 percent who are not insured. This has never been about health care. This is about government.”
U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Gainesville), who postponed his resignation from Congress to cast a vote tonight, was among the first to speak in this evening’s general House debate on health care:
“Tonight, as I cast what might be the last votes of my congressional career, I am pleased to say that — as I pursue my full-time activities to become the governor of the great state of Georgia — that I will cast my vote in opposition to this bill.
“If this bill becomes law, and I am successful in my undertakings, I will devote my efforts to making sure the people of my state are not subjected to the unconstitutional individual mandate, and that my state is not subject to the unconstitutional mandate to expand our Medicaid rolls.
“I know that I am not alone. Yesterday, 38 states indicated they would join in suing to challenge the constitutionality of this statute…”
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